There is not a thing wrong with selling products in conjunction with a speaking engagement. Here are some tips I’ve found effective:
• Give one of your products away while on the platform. I ask for a volunteer, reward them with “any book on my table over there,” and move on. You can also hold the book or tape up and present it at the moment.
• Have the introducer mention your products and how to acquire them while at the conference. It’s a good idea to include that “Ms. Jones has kindly provided a 15-percent discount to conference participants while she is here.”
• If there is a convention bookstore, arrange to have your products displayed with you advertised as a featured speaker.
• Have someone staff your table. Never do this yourself. I try never to exchange products for money personally. If you need someone from the association, facility, or client, make arrangements to provide them with a commission or a flat fee.
• Accept all major credit cards. This can be arranged easily through your local bank or American Express.
• Create a “package” price, for which someone can purchase every product on the table at a discount. If it’s not there, no one can take advantage of it. If it is there, someone will almost always do it, and you get a several-hundred-dollar sale from one person.
• Give every visitor to the table a catalog of your products, whether they purchase or not. You may want to stamp the conference or client name on them and indicate that there is an XX-percent discount in effect for 30 days.
• Present one set of your products as a gift to the trade association library, client library, or a charity supported by the client.
• Offer to stay and sign books.
Excerpted from Million Dollar Speaking (McGraw-Hill, 2010).
© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.